Tue | Jul 16, 2019

Germany profit from ‘simple’ play

Published:Tuesday | June 18, 2019 | 12:25 AM
Nigerian players points towards the electronic screen as they protest a yellow card and a penalty awarded against their goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie, by referee Melissa Borjas of Honduras (centre) during their FIFA Women’s World Cup Group A clash with hosts France at the Roazhon Park in Rennes yesterday.
Nigerian players points towards the electronic screen as they protest a yellow card and a penalty awarded against their goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie, by referee Melissa Borjas of Honduras (centre) during their FIFA Women’s World Cup Group A clash with hosts France at the Roazhon Park in Rennes yesterday.

MONTPELLIER, France (AP):

Germany are playing like title contenders, just at the right time.

After seeing her team start the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a pair of one-goal wins, Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg told her players to keep the game simple.

Germany played to their status as the world’s second-ranked side and one of the top challengers hoping to dethrone the United States, routing South Africa 4-0 yesterday to top Group B with a 3-0 record. The Germans will play a third-placed team in the round of 16 instead of the possibility of an immediate match-up with the Americans.

After Germany ground out 1-0 wins over China and Spain, their attack broke out with three goals in the first half at Montpellier’s Stade de la Mosson, matching their total in their previous five World Cup games combined.

SCORING OPPORTUNITIES

“I told my players that we should keep it simple,” Voss-Tecklenburg said. “The players performed very well. They showed that football can really be very simple sometimes. ... There were moments within the match when we tried to go for the more difficult solution. That’s something we can work on.”

Displaying a varied attack, Germany generated a constant stream of scoring opportunities and could have easily won by a bigger margin.

Melanie Leupolz opened the scoring in the 14th minute with her first goal for Germany since the 2016 Olympics. Sara Däbritz doubled the lead in the 29th minute from a goalkeeping blunder, Alexandra Popp made it 3-0 in the 40th, and Lina Magull added the final goal in the 58th.

“I think we are ready for the round of 16,” Däbritz said. “Our goal was to come in first, and we are really happy about that.”

South Africa were winless in group play and outscored 8-1.

Spain finished Group B as runners-up after a 0-0 draw with China and advanced to the knockout stage for the first time. Spain will face the winners of Group F on Monday at Reims, and the United States would be the opponent with a victory or draw in their final group match against Sweden.

France also won their group, A, yesterday with a 1-0 win over Nigeria. Wendie Renard scored from a penalty in the 79th minute to keep the hosts’ perfect record in this tournament going. Norway, with goals from Caroline Graham Hansen in the fifth, and Isabell Herlovsen in the 51st minutes, beat Korea Republic 2-1 to finish runners-up in the group. Yeo Menji got the Koreans’ consolation goal in the 78th minute.